Transgenic Art- Edwin Chavez

    First, Alba, the GFP Bunny doesn’t really glow in the dark; it “glows” only when you shine a certain wavelength at it. I certainly imagined a glow-in-the-dark rabbit when I heard about the GFP Bunny and saw the bunny’s picture which thankfully, was later clarified by our professor that it was photoshopped (intensified). If there were to be an “unconditional” green fluorescent bunny running around, then modifying an animal in such a way for art’s sake is definitely reckless and unappropriate in my terms. But due to the fact that the bunny shows a minor hue of green when, and only when, lit by a black light, makes it a tad-bit-more permissible.

Secondly, “scientists have been creating these glow-in-the-dark animals for some time (for research purposes). It’s just art catching up to science” (1). To contextualize, let’s say using GFP, phenotypically, is art, the artist would be the scientist and not Kac since I find it effortless on how Kac contributed with his “thought” over using the utility of GFP while the scientists actually gave rise to the (art)work.

In the other hand, this week’s guest argued about not only how “GFP Bunny” can be considered art, but on how it can “purposefully” cultivate a discussion about bio-tech, and how it can ultimately benefit both art and science. In effect, Kac was later quoted that “it’s all really about the ongoing public discourse, it’s a collaborative process involving all who engage, it’s going to cultivate a continuing discussion and dialogue that will benefit all in the end…” (1). However, I find his declaration farfetched, bio-technology itself already generates its own controversy so I don’t think that society is in need of such GFP Bunny scenario to get the discussion started as it was discussed by our guest lecturer. Fortunately, “GFP Bunny” was not just conceived to promote a bio-tech controversy.  The discussion did made me think that in art, the aesthetics can vary from Duchamp to Da Vinci to Kac, anything can be a work of art, provided that the artist claims it so. I even think running is art but I dislike the concept behind Alba.  It certainly did not change my mind when I learned that the artist (in an attempt for redemption) wanted to adopt his floppy-ear experiment. What if Kac were to take another step and allow for the GFP Bunny to breed in order claim it contemporary art?  Their is certainly no laws forbidding him otherwise.

I certainly cannot accept the genetically altered bunny as art and even less any further complications. I used to have a lot of bunnies and do not find it appealing to find the green, unnatural phenotype that Alba the GFP bunny emmits as shown in the photoshopped picture.  Also, I’m very familiar with GFP as it is utilized a lot in stem cell research, for which I’m pursuing a minor in, and believe it’s a total waste of time to use in this context.

On another note,  besides the reality of crossing over an animal-animal hybrid (the outrage of a chimera), the topic of “Transgenic Art” made me think about the “second-step”  possibility of animal-human crossing-over, its use as contemporary art, its controversies,  benefits, and effects on life.  I see the Alba project as a hardly-noticeable first-step, bedrock, for getting public awareness and tolerance for the inevitability of human-animal hybrids as depicted in various multimedia like in Batman Beyond’s concept of gene splicing tech  (for i.e, a human-bird DNA recombination may create an Archangel type human); or maybe I’m thinking too far ahead.


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